Analysts expect another acquisition phase in the United States after Amazon acquired supermarket chain Whole Foods. Ahold Delhaize is often named as a possible target.
Merger with American number two
According to business bank Bernstein analyst, Bruno Monteyne, Ahold Delhaize has several options. Its American stores may be an interesting addition to Amazon, which could benefit from an expanded distribution network in American cities. On the other hand, Ahold Delhaize’s European activities would not be of great interest to Amazon, because it would more likely look at British chains Morrison or Sainsbury or French Carrefour if it were to expand here.
America’s second largest chain, Kroger, could also very well be interested in Ahold Delhaize’s American division, which is number four in the market. Together, they would generate 180 billion dollars in turnover, approaching market leader Walmart at 200 billion dollars. In this deal, Ahold Delhaize’s American and European activities would probably be split.
Hostile takeover also possible soon
Ahold Delhaize’s board may not be willing to negotiate such a deal, but a hostile take-over is also possible”, Monteyne writes. Currently, that may not be an option because the Stichting Ahold Continuïteit has an option to buy preferred stock until the end of next year. That period could have been prolonged last year, but the general assembly did not extend the period and it is not clear whether it will come up anytime soon.